From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
A petition by Womanifesto, a coalition of over 500 women groups asking the National Assembly to revisit the spiked gender bills has garnered 799 signatures out of targeted 1,000.
The five rejected gender bills are: The indigeneship to allow women who are married to an indigene of a state different from her state of origin to stand for elections in her husband’s state; the citizenship bill to allow women in Nigeria to confer citizenship rights to their foreign spouses in the same way men are able to do; the additional seats for women bill to create 111 additional seats for women in the House Representatives and Senate; the affirmative action for women in political party administration bill to allow a minimum of 35 per cent representation of women in party administrative positions and the affirmative action in the appointment of ministers and commissioners bill to allow for a minimum of 10 per cent representation of women ministerial appointments and as commissioners.
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The women groups recalled that on March 8, 2022, the House of Representatives took a historic step to rescind three of the gender bills which were voted down on March 1, 2022 when 68 bills were considered for constitutional alteration.
The women said: “Speaker Femi Gbajabiamiala and other members of the House promised to recommit the bills in the interest of gender inclusivity within four weeks.
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“As leaders of women groups, we are worried about the silence on the re-committal of these bills. We are also worried that the said three gender bills did not make it into the list of the 44 out of the 68 bills that have been transmitted to the State Houses of Assembly for consideration and voting as required by the constitution. It is deeply disturbing that this happened.
“We believe as leaders of the country, leadership of the House of Representatives are men and women of honour and we implore them to take urgent positive steps in the interest of the public.
“We will like to remind members of the House of Representatives that women were at the National Assembly clamouring for a Nigerian constitution that should be gender-inclusive.”
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